How to upgrade vCenter Server Appliance from 5.x to 6.0

VMware vSphere 6.0 has finally been released as GA on March 12th and with it out of beta I hope to post several “how-to” posts, this being the first on how to upgrade your vCenter Server Appliance from 5.1/5.5 to vCSA 6.0. So lets get started…


  • vCSA 6.0 ISO downloaded and mounted or burned to disc.
  • Installed Client Integration Plugin (located in the vcsa folder on the ISO).

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VMware vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b released

vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b released

VMware released vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b today. The release does not bring any new features but instead patches a few bugs and possible security issues such as the heartbleed fix and most recent OpenSSL as mentioned in CVE-2014-0224. vCenter 5.5 Update 1b now includes the OpenSSL library which has been updated to versions openssl-0.9.8za, openssl-1.0.0m, and openssl-1.0.1h.

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VMware vCenter Server 5.5b released

vmware vcenter 5.5b released

VMware hasn’t let the holidays get in their way and has released vCenter Server 5.5b (Build 1476387) along with vCenter Server Appliance 5.5.0b (Build 1476389). The update includes a number of fixes.

Resolved Issues in 5.5.0b

Upgrade and Installation

  • Upgrading the vSphere Web Client to vSphere 5.5 fails with an error
    Attempts to upgrade the vSphere Web Client to vSphere 5.5 fails when they are installed in a custom, non-default location. An error message similar to the following is displayed:

    Error 29107. The service or solution user already registered...

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Increase incremental backup speed by enabling CBT

In a recent VMware environment I was working in, we noticed that our incremental backups was taking a long time (like up to 7-8 hours) to complete. After digging around it was found that VMware actually has a feature built-in since version 4 called Change Block Tracking (CBT). CBT will track any blocks that were changed since the last backup and tag them and stores the information in a -CTK file. The obvious benefit is that now the third party software only backs up the changed block and not the entire VM each time, reducing the amount of data being backed thus speeding up backups and even lowers the CPU utilization on the VM host.

CBT is disabled by default though there are some backup tools that will enable it automatically or you can enable it manually which can easily be done following these steps:

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Shrink a thin provisioned VMDK disk

When maintaining a Horizon View environment I like to keep my parent images as small as possible and over time a thin provision disk can start to grow on you if you don’t watch it – be it from downloading installers, updates, or even running disk defrag. While there isn’t a simple, one click button in the View Administrator Console there is a fairly easy manual method using vmfkstools.

Before we can use “vmkfstools” to shrink the VMDK file we must zero out any unused space on the thin provisioned disk. A simple way of doing this is by using a free utility called SDelete from Sysinternals.

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VMware vCenter Server 5.5.0a update released

VMware has released an update to vCenter 5.5 Server. The new updated, numbered 5.5.0a doesn’t appear to add any new features but instead focus on squishing a number of bugs in the 5.5 version – mostly around vCenter Single-Sign-On and the vSphere web client.

Issues resolved with this release are as follows:

  1. Attempts to upgrade vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) 5.1 Update 1 to version 5.5 might fail with error code 1603
  2. Attempts to log in to the vCenter Server might be unsuccessful after you upgrade from vCenter Server 5.1 to 5.5
  3. Unable to change the vCenter SSO administrator password on Windows in the vSphere Web Client after you upgrade to vCenter Server 5.5 or VCSA 5.5
  4. VPXD service might fail due to MS SQL database deadlock for the issues with VPXD queries that run on VPX_EVENT and VPX_EVENT_ARG tables

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VMware vCenter 5.0 Update 1a released

VMware vCenter 5.0 Update 1a has just been released and is the first major update since version 5.0.

The main improvements being:

  • vCenter Server 5.0 Update 1a introduces support for the following vCenter Databases
    • Oracle 11g Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, Standard ONE Edition Release 2 [] – 64 bit
    • Oracle 11g Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, Standard ONE Edition Release 2 [] – 32 bit
  • vCenter Server Appliance Database Support: The DB2 express embedded database provided with the vCenter Server Appliance has been replaced with VMware vPostgres database. This decreases the appliance footprint and reduces the time to deploy vCenter Server further.

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